Can You See Orion?

The interactive animation below shows you what the constellation Orion might look like.

You can adjust the darkness of the sky by moving the top slider back and forth. Move it to the right (towards the tent) to see Orion in a dark sky, the way it might look if you were out camping far away from any lights. Move the slider to the left (towards the streetlight) to see how Orion might look from a city where there are many lights around. "Magnitude" is a term astronomers use to describe how bright stars are. Stars with a magnitude that is low, like 1 or 2, are quite bright. Stars with higher number magnitudes, like 4 or 5, are dimmer. The dimmest stars that most people can see with their naked eye are around magnitude 6. The slider shows the "magnitude limit" of the dimmest stars you could see with different amounts ambient light.

The bottom slider, on top of the spinning globe, lets you change where you are on Earth. Move it up and down to see how Orion might look from different latitudes.

If you can't see the animation below, or it doesn't seem to be working right, you may need to get the latest Flash player plugin for your computer.

Last modified September 1, 2010 by Randy Russell.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA